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COMMENTARY · 11th December 2011
Merv Ritchie
This is the claim recently made in a commentary Elmer Derrick submitted and had published in the Vancouver Sun, “Elmer Derrick is the hereditary chief of the Gitxsan Nation.” This is quite a claim to make. The question is, after accepting upwards of 20 million dollars from the BC Government to run the Gitxsan Treaty Society, does Derrick truly believe this to be a fact, that he is “The” Hereditary Chief?

The Vancouver Sun, and most of the mainstream media, has done a great disservice to all British Columbians. When the 61 First Nations issued a declaration of opposition to the Enbridge project the announcement did not get a bold and prominently featured front page headline. But when one man, Elmer Derrick makes a declaration he supported the Enbridge project, it became exactly that; a front page 'full page spread' declaration of First Nations support for Enbridge.

The same thing happened in late November when most of the mainstream media reported the executive director of Coastal First Nations, Art Sterritt, declared they might consider supporting Enbridge. This was a twist of the truth and caused Sterritt and the Coastal First Nations to issue their own News release reaffirming their opposition.

The problem with these mainstream media mis-representations of the truth is they set the ground work for the future. When the Northwest communities begin standing in opposition to the construction of the pipeline the millions of Canadians who have read and believed the headlines will see the protesters as a fringe group. The vast majority of the population will have it in their heads, they will know they read it somewhere, the First Nations groups support Enbridge.

This is the great tragedy of allowing the Media to remain unchallenged in their mis-representation, and unfair presentation of the truth and the facts. Canadians become mis-informed and then confused on the truth. When did it become okay in Canada to have lies allowed to be printed as truth in our Nations newspapers and broadcast on the airwaves?

Elmer Derrick is not “The” Hereditary Chief. The truth is he has been involved in a court case for years where a number of Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs have been suing Derrick and the Treaty Society demanding he stop making the claim that he even speaks on behalf of the Hereditary Chiefs.

The Vancouver Sun should know this. All media present at the news conference when Enbridge and Derrick announced their new agreement to the world were listening as reporter after reporter asked Derrick where he got his authority and what Gitxsan members supported him in this position. They all heard how Derrick could not answer. They all heard him say, “[I know the Gitxsan support this] just by talking to people.”

Some reporters could be heard expressing incredulity, some even openly chuckled at Derricks claims, yet none of the mainstream media allowed these real reports to grace their front pages.

The real headline should have been “Enbridge touts one man who is prepared to betray all Indians”. Now that would have been truth in reporting. But still the Vancouver Sun continues this charade. On December 8, 2011, on page A15 they devote a third page allowing Derrick to claim even more legitimacy with the claim he is “The” Hereditary Chief without so much as a whisper about the Gitxsan Nation locking him and his associates out of their offices and their declaration that they are all fired or the continuing lawsuit against them.

In June, 2011, after receiving documents from the Freedom of Information office, two reporters, Russell Diabo and Shiri Pasternak detailed the spying activities and the recruitment of “Indian Insiders” by the new Stephen Harper administration. Read their independent report here.

They had described Elmer Derrick and his actions a full six months prior to Derrick making this claim dividing his own Nations people.

CSIS, the Canadian Spy agency has even advertised to attract First Nations people to spy on their own people and report to the government. Read this independent report here.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s and even into the 1980’s the world population all knew the Russian Media was owned and controlled by the state. Nothing was printed they didn’t want printed. Every Russian knew this and every North American knew this. Today our main North American Media is only printing the government’s and industries side of most issues and are giving the untruthful messages full front page and repeated attention. If any opposing position is to receive any coverage it is scant and hidden in a back page, if printed at all. The difficulty today is how so many Canadians do not see this or understand it. It is almost as if the Russians of the last century were more advanced and knowledgeable than North Americans are today.

Read Derricks commentary by opening the attached file below. read a rough transcript of the media scrum and the questions put to Derrick by opening this story Here.
On the left is the Vanc Sun front page the day after the declaration by over 60 First Nations opposing Enbridge.  Right is the Vanc Sun front page the day after Elmer Derricks claim.
On the left is the Vanc Sun front page the day after the declaration by over 60 First Nations opposing Enbridge. Right is the Vanc Sun front page the day after Elmer Derricks claim.
Merv the Great?
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 12th December 2011
Although this piece is considered a commentary, it might just as well be considered 'reporting". It is a list of details and facts with direct references.

This is reporting (bringing to the public's attention) important and relevant information the mainstream media refuses to properly address.

If this causes you to find the need to ridicule so be it. The only disturbing issue here is the lack of many more people starting their own news service and reporting the truth as the common media, Black Press, Global, CBC and CTV neglect doing their jobs fully and completely. As was so clearly evidenced by the SUN.

In court avoiding certain details to enhance one side is considered an obstruction of justice. My personal opinion is these media outlets should be sued for treasonous behaviour by not just avoiding on reporting but by deliberately misinforming. This pollutes the thinking of our fellow man and woman and is detrimental to society as a whole and again, in my opinion, treasonous!


If I have any agenda, personally, it is to fully and completely offer everyone the opportunity to have their say and have all opinions heard.
Merv the Great
Comment by Larry Thompson on 12th December 2011
Merv, I believe that you use your "media" outlet to push your own agenda. You seem to exaggerate and twist facts to suit your needs. I used to read some of your articles with interest until they became a novel of the world according to Merv. They were more interesting when they stuck to more facts. However, you do have quite a large following.